Police warn of thieves swiping garage door openers from cars

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DENVER -- From Arvada to Aurora, crooks are getting clever by stealing garage door openers from cars right in the middle of homeowners' driveways.

Bonnie Robinson is one of many residents who have recently been targeted. The Aurora woman got home from work and forgot to lock her car. By the time she remembered, it was too late.

“The next day my husband goes, 'Honey, where is the garage door opener? Did you take it out of the car?' I said, 'No. It should be where we keep it in the car' and he said, ‘Well, it's not there,'” Robinson said.

Fortunately, Robinson noticed it was gone before the thieves could strike, but others aren’t so lucky.

The Douglas County Sheriff`s Office is one of several agencies seeing this type of theft far too often.

“You don't think about it and they get about a 24-hour window. It’s one of those things: Take your keys,” said chief Steve Johnson with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.

Police aren't the only ones dealing with the fallout -- so are garage door companies.

Many homeowners are purchasing new systems because if yours was built before 2003,  thieves don't need the transmitter to break  in. They can intercept the radio frequency from down the block with a device called a code grabber.

“We had to adapt the industry to fit the crime,” said Mario Riggio with Overhead Door Company of Denver.

Newer doors have rolling codes that change every time you use them.

“4.3 billion codes before it will ever repeat itself,” Riggio said.

Robinson is among those taking action, hoping to keep the thieves out and her family safe.

“It's very upsetting to think we've been violated in that way,” Robinson said. “Now we're just more aware, and awareness is key.”

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